Meth Labs

Common Meth Lab Supplies

  • Plastic tubing
  • Mason Jars
  • Propane tanks (Sometimes spray painted or burned, with a modified valve assembly)
  • Camp stove fuel
  • Large amounts of pseudoephedrine tablets (Sudafed, Mini-Thins, Pseudo 60's, blister packs)
  • Toluene
  • De-Natured alcohol
  • Cans of solvents
  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium batteries
  • Starting fluid (ether)
  • Glass jars
  • Plastic funnels
  • Coffee filters with pasty residue
  • Rock salt
  • Muriatic acid
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Iodine
  • Large amounts of match books
  • Red phosphorous
  • Red Devil lye
  • Dry ice
  • Coolers
  • Heet gasline treatment
  • Ammonium Sulfate fertilizer (21-0-0)
  • Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer (33-0-0)

Misconceptions/Urban Legends

  • Tennis shoes hung over a phone line indicate a meth lab is close by so that potential customers can seek the lab out to buy drugs (SRDTF has never seen this at a labsite, clandestine cooks go to extremes to stay hidden and do not advertise their presence)
  • Red or Green light on the porch indicates whether the drugs are ready and available (Drug dealers don't deal with just anyone who walks up to the door)
  • Christmas lights on the porch at odd times of the year indicate meth is being cooked at the location (Meth cooks do not advertise their presence)
  • Meth labs always have chemistry equipment in them and they are easy to spot (Most clandestine labs do not have laboratory grade glassware like beakers present, rather they are a combination of tubing, tanks, Pyrex baking dishes, mason jars, and chemical containers)
  • My neighborhood or area is not the kind of place that a meth lab would be found (Meth labs are found in a wide variety of locations and neighborhoods.  Meth labs have been found in hotels, rural, urban, and suburban neighborhoods, vehicles, campgrounds, forest land, garages, sheds, barns, and underground)

What happens after a lab is busted?

The detectives investigating the lab will remove many of the hazardous chemicals from the labsite while they are processing it for evidence.  Those chemicals are disposed of by the Washington Department of Ecology or a Hazardous Materials contractor.  The Snohomish Health District will evaluate the site and post it as unfit for inhabitation if it is found to be contaminated.  The health district will then oversee the cleanup of the property. 

While police and Ecology Department crews clean up and dispose of the bulk chemicals at a scene, private property owners are legally responsible for the next step in the cleanup, which can involve removing contaminated furniture, rugs, bedding, and counter tops. Under the law, a landlord cannot rent a house or apartment again until it has been certified as clean by the health district.

More information on the Snohomish Health District can be found at